Fans flip for Buchanan
Cannons at heart of exciting event
The barefooted lacrosse player slowly walked toward the back of the net. With the Harvard Stadium crowd rising to its feet, Kevin Buchanan took a deep breath.
Up to that point, the skills competition at halftime of the Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game last night had not lived up to the standard of previous years. Sure the tricks were good, but not jaw-dropping.
That’s when Buchanan, who plays for the Boston Cannons, ignited the party.
With three people — fellow All-Stars Greg Bice and Anthony Kelly, and Chesapeake coach John Tucker — between him and the back of the net, Buchanan sprinted over their backs toward the goal. Once Buchanan reached the top of the crossbar, he somersaulted over the net to score upside down.
The freestyle trick garnered the loudest cheers of the night and it won Buchanan the skills competition trophy. It also displayed all the elements seen at the All-Star event: excitement, skill, and a little bit of crazy.
What made Buchanan’s trick more impressive was that in came on his second attempt.
“It had to be done again,’’ Buchanan said to the television cameras following his trick goal.
But Buchanan fell awkwardly the first time when Greg Bice’s back didn’t give enough support, which caused the crowd to gasp. But Buchanan said he couldn’t disappoint the franchise-record 11,771 fans.
“I wanted to do it again because I just barely missed it,’’ he said. “It was a pretty creative shot, and I knew the fans wanted to see it.’’
As for the game, the level of play picked up after halftime. Brendan Mundorf, an attackman for the Denver Outlaws, was voted game MVP after scoring six goals to lead the US national team to a 13-12 win over the MLL All-Stars.
In the fourth quarter, the MLL All-Stars built a three-goal lead after Cannons midfielder Matt Poskay scored from 15 yards with six minutes remaining. But Team USA went on the attack and tied the game at 12 on Mundorf’s last goal of the night.
“I was in pretty good spots,’’ Mundorf said. “I could feel that the defense was rotating away from me. I knew if I could catch and shoot, I could score.”
Ryan Powell scored the winner with a minute left after he weaved past three defenders before jumping for a top-shelf goal.
The All-Star Game was the last for Team USA before it plays in the World Championships next week in Manchester, England.
“He’s phenomenal,’’ Buchanan said of Mundorf. “He’s a great asset to their team when they go to Manchester.’’
Paul Rabil, a Cannons midfielder who plays for Team USA, won the fastest-shot event during the halftime skills competition. Rabil beat USA teammate Matt Striebel by scoring from 10 feet at 111 miles per hour, which tied his world record set last year.
“It was a bit of relief, but I thought I could have gotten a little bit faster,’’ Rabil said. “I just wanted to put it on net, so maybe I should have kicked up a notch.’’
Nate Taylor can be reached at email@example.com.